Skip to main content

Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

See other formats

"WILLIAM: VOK HUMBOLDT.                349
a proud man, opposed to all reforms; and since the
war, a perfect confusion and partial dissolution had
ensued, and all were longing for assistance and for a
thorough reform. Zelter writes to Goethe, on the
26th December, 1808: "We are expecting the Roman
Humboldt here now; he has been appointed privy
councillor and minister of worship, of instruction,
and of the theatres. If he is still as he was before
he went to Italy, I anticipate much from him. He can
do much good at his post whichever way events may
turn, for in this point., as in many others., we have
long led a sinful life/'
In April, 1809, Humboldt arrived in Koxugsbeig,
where the court and tne officers of state still remained.
Prussia Vas in a melancholy condition, for the pres -
sure and importunity of Napoleon became more and
more insufferable, even after the ^peace, and the pecu-
niary distress greater. The future existence of the
state still seemed uncertain, and many doubted
whether it might not be utterly destroyed in a week.
But though affairs were thus in such a melan-
choly condition, Konigsberg itself afforded a most con-
soling prospect. The best men in the state7 full of
pure zeal for the welfare of the fatherland, had here
assembled, and in close communication with the royal
family were preparing measures destined to save the
country. Besides these men whom the times had
brought together., Konigsberg was, and had been, the
residence of some of the most eminent philosophers of
the day, whose presence had always exercised an
elevating influence over the inhabitants of the town.
Foremost among these was Kant, who had died a few
years before the present period, and under whose
tuition the other great men in the town had risen to
eminence. Humboldt entered into more intimate
acquaintance with Dr. William Motherby, an excellent
man, the friend and pupil of Kant. He was a
Scotchman by birth, but resided in Konigsberg., where
he formed a society in commemoration of the great phi-
losopher. Humboldt, as an adherent of the Kantian.